Bolero is a 1984 American romantic drama film starring Bo Derek, and written and directed by her husband John Derek. The film centers on the protagonist's sexual awakening and her journey around the world to pursue an ideal first lover who will take her virginity.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Derek|
|Produced by||Bo Derek|
|Written by||John Derek|
|Distributed by||Cannon Film Distributors|
|Box office||$8.9 million|
Set in the 1920s, Ayre "Mac" MacGillvary is a virginal 23-year-old young American who graduates from an exclusive British college. An orphan heiress to a vast fortune, Ayre is determined to find the right man for her first sexual encounter wherever he might be in the world. Rich enough not to venture forth alone, she brings along her best friend Catalina and the family chauffeur Cotton.
Ayre first travels to Morocco where she meets an ideal lover, an Arab sheik who offers to deflower her. He takes her away in his private airplane to an oasis in the desert, but during foreplay while rubbing her nude body with honey, he falls asleep almost immediately. Giving up on the sheik, Ayre goes on to Spain, where she meets the toreador Angel, and sets out to seduce him. Into this group comes Paloma, a 14-year-old local Gypsy girl whom Ayre and Catalina take under their wing. A minor subplot involves Catalina meeting and pursuing Ayre's lawyer, Robert Stewart, a kilt-wearing Scotsman whom Catalina chooses to deflower her.
After several days of courtship and flirting, Angel makes love to Ayre one morning and he manages to stay awake. Unfortunately, after Ayre has succeeded in her quest to lose her virginity, Angel is gored while bullfighting the next day.
The injury leaves Angel unable to perform in the bedroom, and so Ayre makes it her mission in life to see to his recovery. Along the way, she takes up bullfighting herself as a way of getting her despondent lover motivated to stop moping. During this, the Arab sheik flies to Spain to abduct Ayre, but she manages to convince him that she has already lost her virginity and he lets her go.
Eventually, Ayre is successful in aiding Angel to full recovery which leads to a climactic lovemaking session between them. The film ends with Ayre and Angel getting married at a local church.
Executive producer and Cannon Films co-head Menahem Golan urged the Dereks to make the sex scenes more explicit, despite the latter party's objections on the basis that the scenes were strong enough. The film was initially to be distributed by MGM as part of an ongoing deal with Cannon, and Bo Derek screened the film to the studio's then-CEO Frank Yablans hoping that he would intervene with Golan on the matter of the erotic content. Yablans disliked the film as much as all the other films Cannon was delivering to MGM.
When the producers refused to cut the film to avoid an X rating by the MPAA, MGM dropped the film due to standards policies and Cannon released Bolero themselves. The quality of Bolero and the other Cannon/MGM films led to Yablans using a breach of contract clause to terminate the distribution deal with the two studios in November 1984. Bolero was ultimately released with no MPAA rating, with a disclaimer on ads that no children under 17 would be admitted to the film. Despite this, many theater chains that normally refused to screen X-rated films did the same for Bolero.
The film is officially on DVD with an "R" rating with no cuts.
It was nominated for nine Golden Raspberry Awards and won six, including "Worst Picture", "Worst Actress," "Worst Director" and "Worst Screenplay". In 1990, the film was nominated for, but lost the Razzie Award for "Worst Picture of the Decade." The movie was nominated for a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture.
In 1985, U.S.A. Home Video released Bolero in both Unrated and R-Rated versions to the video rental marketplace. In 2005, MGM Home Entertainment released Bolero on DVD, after the rights to the majority of Cannon Film productions reverted to MGM, an ironic move, considering the events that transpired between MGM and Cannon over the original theatrical release of the film. The MGM release, although rated R, is the full, uncut version of the film.
The Lonely Lady
| Razzie Award for Worst Picture
5th Golden Raspberry Awards
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Films directed by John Derek
Awards for Bolero